CHECK POUCHES: Joeys can live for up to three days after their mothers have passed away.
CHECK POUCHES: Joeys can live for up to three days after their mothers have passed away. David Nielsen

Spray paint cross helps drivers work together to save lives

LEAVING for work eight minutes earlier could save a life.

Joeys can live for up to three days in pouches after their mothers have been killed on the road - and checking pouches can mean the difference between a baby wallaby slowly starving to death, or living on to adulthood.

Gatton Veterinary Surgery Practice Manager Karen Lyon said she had always noticed crosses spray-painted across wallabies dead on the side of the road.

She recently learned the meaning of the crosses and is urging everyone to make the effort to stop and check unmarked dead wallabies for young.

"Whenever you see a roo with a cross, it means a wildlife carer or somebody has checked the pouch and you don't need to stop,” Ms Lyon said.

"It's something I think a lot of people don't know about... I've been in this industry for 25 years and even I didn't know that.”

The longer we go without rain, more scarcer green grass has become and hungry wallabies are making their way closer to humans in order to feed.

In doing so, wallabies and other wildlife are coming into contact with traffic as they edge closer to roads.

"When you travel along the road, you'll see a brown field of nothing but, beside the road, there's always a green pick,” she said.

Ms Lyon said she saw a joey brought in to the Gatton Veterinary Surgery almost every second day.

If you think this seems like a lot? Apparently its not.

"We really should have two or three every day, with the amount being killed on the road,” she said.

"The percentage of people who hit them don't actually check pouches, but if they did they would more often than not find a joey in the pouch.”

If you find a joey, how you can go about getting them to safety depends on their age and size?

Older joeys with hair can be taken out from the pouch and put into a pillow slip and taken to the vet or a wildlife carer.

Younger joeys without hair or "pinkies” are more difficult.

"Babies still attached to the nipple - you have to cut the nipple off,” she said.

"As soon as you take them off the nipple, they will die.”